I was recently given the privilege of watching the film Yellow Day, which is scheduled to release on Christmas Day. The film is a beautiful journey both spiritually and cinematically. I really felt like there were 2-3 story lines depicted in this film, but the story weaves together to show how various people’s paths cross.
The film combines live action with a mystical cartoon, to tell the story. It begins with a cartoon fairy tail about a man and his search for love. Upon finding his love, he suffers great loss and darkness but finds light and grace through turning to the Lord. The man chooses to honor his love by opening a camp for children who have endured or are enduring suffering in their lives. The story behind and about the camp could have been a story in and of itself, but again it’s woven into the journey of characters from other story lines. The movie also takes us on a journey of “A Good Man,” as he’s referred to by the narrator of the film, who has various encounters with a young woman and upon forming a relationship with her, quickly loses her. The Good Man begins a search for his love which takes the moviegoer in and out of reality and the mystical cartoon fantasy. I found the cartoon parts especially powerful in telling a story and at bringing the audience into the emotionalness of the situation.
As I have a Master’s degree in Film Production, I sometimes find it hard to get sucked into a film, as I’m too busy critiquing the production level and quality. While some of the acting left me unsatisfied, the various story lines and crossover between live action and mystical cartoon kept me hooked and wondering what would happen next.
The film is rated PG and because of the references to darkness and the suffering endured by the children at the camp, I would recommend it for a more mature audience. That said, the story of hope, grace and endurance is well worth the viewing of Yellow Day. I highly encourage our readers at catholicmom.com to make sure they don’t miss this beautiful film. Opening Christmas Day, this film will provide a heartfelt testament to the power and grace given to us by the Lord.
Copyright 2015 Courtney Vallejo.
I have the privilege of reviewing an art activity book called Noah’s Ark Origami. The book, written by Seth Friedman, begins with 26 pages of beautiful photographs and art work educating its viewers on Noah’s Ark. This includes ideas and dimensions about how Noah would have built the Ark. It begins by telling the story of Noah’s Ark and even includes maps to give us an idea of the area traveled by the Ark. Also included are historical accounts of the Ark and the ways people have tried to emulate the journey. There is a story of a Dutchman named Johan Huibers, who has created a life-sized Noah’s Ark museum, which is open to the public for exploration.
The informational section goes on to describe the scientific view of the flood and how it impacted history. In addition, it discusses scientific discoveries surrounding the Ark and even suggests that the Black Sea was a freshwater lake before combining with the Mediterranean Sea during a flood more than 6,000 years ago.
My 6 year old son loves Noah’s Ark so I was really excited to find an art project that could bring the Ark to life. The origami, however, proved to be beyond his age level. Admittedly so, my own origami skills are lacking; however, the book provides 84 color pages of origami instructions to create Noah and his family, the Ark and some of the animals who rode on the Ark. All of the origami papers are included in the box, and instructions to make the animals are given with diagrams on how to fold the paper. There is a paper key included which shows which paper is used to make which animal or person. The book includes pages that show the folding instruction symbols that will be used to teach how to fold each picture as well as the directions and images for the basic folds and bases.
I enjoyed the challenge of creating Noah out of origami paper, but it is not for the faint of heart The directions are lengthy and I got stuck about halfway through creating Noah’s body. Give yourself plenty of time and carefully read through all the prior instructions given before attempting to create the projects.
I would definitely recommend this project for older kids and especially kids who like to work independently on a detailed project. It would provide a great artistic display for a Catechism classroom and/or faith based learning environment. These origami creations show a beautiful representation of Noah’s Ark and really bring the Bible story of Noah’s Ark to life.
Copyright 2015 Courtney Vallejo.
Mother Teresa’s faith-filled life of service is beautifully depicted in the recent Ignatius Press re-release of their film Mother Teresa. The original version (110 min) of the movie was released in 2003 and it made its way across the world over the last decade. This year, Ignatius Press released the original, uncut, full-length (177 min) version and it’s wonderful!
I hadn’t realized that I had seen the original version, years ago, but as I watched it, so many of the beautiful scenes came back into my head. Most importantly, the additional 67 minutes of footage truly shows a beautiful, in-depth portrayal of the courageous life of Mother Teresa. The film filled me with hope and a renewed fervor to live a life that completely trusts in the Lord’s providence and allows me to be a pencil in His hand, as she modeled.
Olivia Hussey takes on the role of Mother Teresa in such an amazing way, from her accent to the way she walks, to the specific facial expressions, it’s as if you’re watching a live documentary of Mother herself.
The cinematography of the film gives it a documentary feel while showing images of the streets of Calcutta and returns to a mainstream film view as we see Mother’s interior life in the convent.
The seemingly realistic view of the slums of Calcutta are truly impressive. The film is filmed with powerful images that resonate in your heart as you watch the film. The beautiful depiction of Mother Teresa serving the poor is an image I will carry with me. Especially the specific people that so clearly represent Christ visiting Mother Teresa during her lifetime.
I think often times when I watch deleted scenes of a movie, in that special features section of the DVD, I can see why the scenes were left out of the final version, as they don’t add much to the film. The scenes that were left out of the original released version and now included in the full-length of this movie, however, add such richness to the film.
It’s interesting that a few of the scenes eluded to the dark night of the soul experienced by Mother Teresa. In one she describes how the loneliness is too bear. I was grateful to Ignatius Press for not originally releasing these scenes, as I remember the confusion that was created when the book about her dark moments was released. It was baffling to the public that she could have continued such selfless work with no sense of God’s love, but now I think people have come to understand how that made her even more sacrificial and so they can now appreciate these scenes where she bears her trials to her confessor.
The film shows her life as a child and the love she experienced as a child, it leads us through her journey to become a nun, her life in her first convent as a teacher, her calling from God to leave and care for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, the opposition she faced in starting her own order and the work of the evil one against her through the delayed building of her City of Hope and financial scandals that people tried to blame on her order. Through the whole film, we are encouraged and strengthened in the way nothing seems to phase Mother Teresa and instead she handles each struggle with faith in the Lord and a persistence to clear up the issue and most importantly return to her work with the poorest of the poor.
Any film has things that the viewer would have prefered to be seen or dealt with in a different manner. While the magnitude of this film is truly remarkable, I found myself a little confused by the timeline of her life. There were a few flashbacks that any film has and the time period is set apart enough that it is understandable. It was confusing, though, when the next scene moved us forward in time but didn’t necessarily let us know the time frame. A few scenes did have a year come up to let us know where we were, but it seemed that those were so far and few between, that it made it more confusing and the time jumps were so major, I wondered how the determined what years to skip. Again, this is only a minor note in such a substantial film.
I think this is a great family film. I am very protective of the television and movies that my children watch, but both my five-year-old and six-year-old wanted to watch this with me. Of course there are scenes of violence that I wouldn’t let them watch, but for an adult they are nothing more than the depiction of true life in the Calcutta slums.
While the images of the sick patients is sad, I believed my children benefited from seeing how others live and seeing as I’m not planning a trip to Calcutta any time soon, I saw it as a good social justice lesson for them. Not being used to watching much TV, they found it hard to sit still and the show must be catered to their entertainment needs, like Daniel Tiger or Sid the Science Kid. They both sat through the majority of the film. I had to turn it off at one point before it was done, and they were both asking later that day if they could keep watching the movie about the Mother. These are the images I want to fill my children with and to be able to refer back to when we all have moments of stubbornness, selfishness or greediness.
The film is filled with beautiful quotes from Mother Teresa, and in one, she says, “If things happen, it’s because the Lord wants them to, if they don’t, He doesn’t want them to.” It’s clear to me that the Lord wanted the story of Mother Teresa told, and He wanted it told in the realistic, honoring and life-giving way in which Ignatius Press has done.
Copyright 2014, Courtney Vallejo
I just watched The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio. I've seen it before and enjoyed it, which is why I rented it from the library. It's a great story about a strong woman who uses her writing talents to make ends meet for her big family. She is positive and persistent through the whole film and a great image of a "proper" woman. Plus her 1940's/1950's dresses are fun to see! It was made in 2004 so check the library and NetFlix! "She raised her kids on 25 words or less!"